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A prenuptial agreement is designed to protect both the husband and wife, even if they are of limited means. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage that is unique to their circumstances. It identifies what will constitute marital property and what will remain separate property. Furthermore, it establishes each party’s financial obligation, and lays out a framework of what will occur if the marriage results in a divorce or even death. It may also include spousal support and life insurance requirements.

A prenuptial agreement safeguards each spouse’s rights, the rights of children from a prior marriage, and makes a divorce less complicated. A good prenuptial agreement can also serve as an estate plan in case one spouse dies. In the United States, approximately 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Given these statistics, it is often in the best interest of both parties to enter into a prenuptial agreement even if they are in a deeply committed relationship.

Under New York State law, prenuptial provisions may include division of property such as homes, cars, and jewelry. It may also include financial rights, waivers or payments of spousal maintenance, shielding of debts, the manner in which property is devised after death, and other terms such as limits on child custody and support. By having an agreement prior to marriage, couples are able to avoid costly litigation in the future, if the marriage should result in a divorce. It allows both parties to protect assets and property.

Under New York State law, in the absence of a prenuptial agreement, both spouses will have to come to an agreement on the division of property and assets. If both parties are unable to come to an agreement, a judge will decide for them. This may not result in a fair outcome or an outcome that was in the best interest of both parties. For this reason, it is in the best interest of both parties to have a written prenuptial agreement prior to marriage.

In drafting a prenuptial agreement, both parties should have separate, experienced and knowledgeable counsel to negotiate and draft the terms and conditions of the agreement. If you are planning to tie the knot and want to enter into a prenuptial agreement, the experienced Long Island divorce attorneys at Larry McCord & Associates, LLC can guide you through the process. Please contact Larry McCord and Associates, LLC at (631) 643-3084 to learn more about the firm’s services.

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